April (Walk Briskly for the Kids)

Everything hurts.
And I mean everything. I am a mass of soreness from head to toes, and feel chafed in places I didn't even know existed. But, amongst the pain, there beats (albeit sluggishly) the heart of an achiever - because today I started, and finished, the Run for the Kids. Or in my case, the Walk Briskly and Occasionally Break into a Light and Somewhat Desperate Stagger-like Jog for the Kids.
It all started a few months ago when Leanne asked if anyone wanted to join her in this year's Run for the Kids. Apart from being for a good cause (the Good Friday appeal), it could be part of our training. With some recollection of seeing it on the news in previous years, embedded within hazy images of sunshine and camaraderie and general joviality, I quite happily agreed. Besides, back in January, April seemed a lifetime away. And I didn't bother mentioning the whole thing on the blog because, to be honest, it really didn't seem like a particularly big deal.
Tell that to my thighs, and ankles, and arms, and back. Tell that to me. I must admit though, that I did start to get a sense of the enormity of the task when, yesterday, I looked it up on the internet for some background information. 14.1 kilometres. Over bridges and under tunnels. 30,000 participants. Road closures. Toilets on the back of trucks. Time limits.
After a few moments of stupefaction, I tried to worm my way out of the whole thing but Cathri talked me into at least giving it a go. So at six o'clock this morning I rose from uneasy slumber and took some Berocca to give me B-B-Bounce (because I sure as hell can't R-R-Run). Then I also took some vitamin D and fish oil and echinacea for no other reason but that they were there and I thought they couldn't hurt. The more the merrier.
The fish oil may have come in handy for the train ride anyway, because we were packed in like sardines. To be disgorged at Flinders Street station amongst a throng of others, all dressed in running gear and all heading with varying degrees of enthusiasm towards the start of the run. Somehow I found Cathri, Donna, Leanne and Leanne's friend, Robyn (from left to right in the photo, with me second from right), and we joined the mass exodus. A veritable flood of people, all looking decidedly more fit and confident than me (or so it seemed).
Apart from a mass of lycra and leggings (some on bodies which one would not normally associate with lycra and/or leggings), there were runners dressed as storm troopers and over-sized rabbits and fairies. Even with my rapidly mushrooming trepidation, I had to admit it made for a great atmosphere. Thirty minutes later, with my dodgy knee wrapped tightly, we all shuffled up to the start area and, with the help of Steve Moneghetti, counted down to 'go'! Then we waited a further fifteen minutes to actually get moving. Even after that we only shuffled along for a while, which suited me perfectly, but then it was on.
Now I won't bore you with all the details. Suffice to say I had to veer off the course at the first pit stop and was left behind by the others (just as well we never went to war when we were in the Army Reserves together), and when I got going again I was about number 29,996 out of 30,000 people. So I could only improve (if one discounts the 4 people behind me, that is). So what else? Well, walking by myself was quite nice but I was also relieved to catch up with Cathri and Donna about five kilometres later. And the view from the top of the Bolte Bridge was lovely, but not worth the ascent. And apparently I can jog with my injured knee, but boy it hurts when I stop. And Leanne is fitter than the rest of us, but we all finished so what the hell. And, lastly, those free grapes after a 14.1 kilometre walk/jog/run taste better than anything on earth.
So I did it. In a time of 2 hours, 23 minutes and 16 seconds. Number 6886 out of all the females. And it doesn't seem to matter so much now that I can't move any faster than a hobble, or that every bone in my body is having a personal tussle with surrounding muscle. Or that my side is actually bruised from where my pack kept slapping me. Or that I know I'm going to spend the next few days devouring pain tablets just to keep going. Or that... doesn't matter. I did it.

1 comment:

corymbia said...

Hi Ilse,
Somehow you made me roar with laughter despite the subject matter (sorry). Good on you for completing the walk.